Mandaue City has passed on first reading an ordinance that eyes to protect LGBT people.
The measure, titled “An Ordinance Providing a Comprehensive Code for People of Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities in the City of Mandaue”, seeks to create the Mandaue City Diversity Affairs Commission, which will implement a comprehensive anti-discrimination program.
“(We started working on this ordinance) in the middle part of 2013; and we submitted it to the Council in (the later part of) 2014,” City Treasurer Regal Oliva said to Outrage Magazine. The ordinance was, however, “not made by one person; it was a collective contribution of the different sectors of the LGBT community in Mandaue City.”
A series of consultations were held to ascertain the needs of the LGBT people in Mandaue City. The issues raised were consolidated, and from this, Oliva helped develop the ordinance with Magdalena Robinson. The ordinance was then proposed to the City Council, with councilor Nene Leyese sponsoring the ordinance. Leyese chairs the Committee on the Women and Children’s Sector.
For Oliva, persuading politicians to support the ordinance was not that hard. “Mandaue City has always been known to be a cradle of LGBT (acceptance) in the Philippines. Long before the conception of this proposed code, the LGBT people have enjoyed a silent tolerance and acceptance in the city. Institutionalizing this through this piece of legislation is just making a thumbprint of what has long been existing in Mandaue City,” Oliva said.
Mandaue City’s ordinance is said to be different from others because, “firstly, the other anti-discrimination ordinances in other cities encapsulated the LGBT people together with the persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the senior citizens (SCs). We believe that the LGBT people have different concerns than the PWDs or SCs. This code that we developed focuses only to the rights and welfare of the LGBT people in Mandaue City,” Oliva said.
Once it passes, with the implementation of this ordinance, the city will channel a fund through the Social Welfare and Development Office, City Health Office, Department of Education, and the City Tourism Office to formulate programs for the development of the socio-cultural, educational as well as health of the LGBT people in Mandaue City. The city will also be tasked to create a Diversity Affairs Commission in order to discuss and promote the well-being of the each LGBT members in the Mandaue community.
Oliva expressed surprised that “the Mandaue City Government – through the City Council and the City Mayor – welcomes this development and is in all-out support for the LGBT. We believe, however, that the passage of this ordinance is only 10% of the real work to be done. The most crucial part of this is its faithful and religious implementation.”
As the LGBT community of Mandaue City eye for the eventual passing of the anti-discrimination ordinance, “we hope that other LGBT community located in other local government units will follow suit and emulate what we have done to spread awareness and acceptance,” Oliva ended.